Best of Honolulu 2012: Entertainment

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If the Hideaway’s walls could talk … they’d have a smokers’ cough.

photo: michael keany

Best Kids’ Party

Sure, you could hire a clown for your daughter’s baby luau or a magician for your son’s next birthday, but if you really want to impress the kids—and their parents—book Nathan and Chika Tanaka of Candy Art Hawaii. The Tanakas practice the traditional Japanese art of amezaiku, the hand sculpting of melted sugar into shapes. The result? Deliciously detailed lollipops, made from hot liquid and solid sugar, imported from Japan, and painted for detail with food coloring. “I like making turtles because it has two contrasting colors and people love it when they finally realize what it is after I put on the shell,” says Chika, who can make a lollipop in three minutes. Nathan is also a master balloon artist with more than 15 years experience. “Angry Birds balloons are really popular right now,” he says.


Best Indie Movie Theater

No movie theater in Hawaii tops Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Academy (Museum) of Art for diverse programming. Any given month might feature foreign-film festivals such as the Bollywood Film Festival, or genre-themed showings such as Oh My Godzilla. The monthly Friends of Film Friday (FFF) premiers independent films; it’s often the only theater to show movies like Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Banksy’s Exit through the Gift Shop. With FFF post-discussions often led by a film critic or filmmaker, Doris Duke gives hope to movie theater buffs in this age of Netflix. 900 S. Beretania St., ext. 5, 532-8700.


Best Networking Event

Social media has transformed networking in the 21st century, but it’s still best to meet people face to face. The quarterly Nextworking event offers both with a free, come-as-you-please venue to network at your own pace. More than 500 people attended Nextworking’s December event, so be sure to bring plenty of business cards for the next occasion on March 8, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m at The Standard.


Best Cultural Revival

It’s back! After more than a year of reorganization and fundraising, the curtain will rise on the new Hawaii Symphony. The symphony’s masterworks season debuts on March 4, with twice-monthly performances by the full orchestra running until May 19. “Classical music isn’t just something you get when you push a button,” says Jonathan Parrish,  a French horn player. Can’t get enough classical music? Parrish is also the general manager of Chamber Music Hawaii, which boasts three professional ensembles. This year the chamber celebrates its 30th anniversary. Most performances are held at Doris Duke and the Paliku Theatre on the Windward Community College campus. Don’t miss this month’s Winds and Brass concerts on March 12 and March 19 at the above venues.,


Best Dive Bar

What gives The Hideaway its preeminence among dive bars is the way it balances its unwavering commitment to divey-ness with its unconditional acceptance of anybody who cares to drink there. Located in a tumbledown house on a dead-end lane in a skeezy part of Waikiki, The Hideaway is dark, nicotine-stained and welcoming to all. The bar is fully stocked and the dirt-cheap beer gets even cheaper during the daily Power Hour from 6 to 7 p.m. (Note: The bar’s clock is 17 minutes early.) Darts, pool, Wi-Fi and vintage 1980s video games keep the energy moving. 1913 Dudoit Lane, 949-9885.


Staff Favorites

A. Kam Napier:  I’ve been enjoying GameStop’s Ala Moana Center location, where the staff has always been helpful, knowledgeable and eager to discuss games at length with this middle-aged gamer. 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., #1235, 947-1164.

Readers' Picks

Best Art Gallery

Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 S. Beretania St., 532-8700,

Best Place to Karaoke

Krazy Karaoke, 1308 Young St., 591-8843; 98-199 Kamehameha Highway, Suite H13, 484-0269.

Best Place to Pau Hana

Side Street Inn, multiple locations,